The battle of the best Internet browser continues not only in the United States, but in the European Union as well.  Microsoft’s campaign to conquer the browser industry in Europe has been halted by EU antitrust laws.  Microsoft has made it difficult for customers to choose other browsers while using their Windows operating system.  Its dominant position in the market concerned the European Commission back in 2009.  The EU “suspected Microsoft of using its dominant market position to foist its Internet Explorer browser on users.”  Microsoft and the European Commission has come to a legal settlement in which “Microsoft agreed to create a screen where users could choose among competitors’ browsers”.

The European Union’s power to govern antitrust, internationally and intranationally is derived from the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.  Under Article 101, “agreements between two or more independent market operators which restrict competition are prohibited”.  The second article governing antitrust is Article 102.  Article 102 states that, “firms holding a dominant position on a determined market to abuse that position are prohibited.”  Article 102 governs here as Microsoft’s dominant position was used to abuse that position by denying competitive browsers the opportunity to compete.

Microsoft has failed to meet the requirements of the settlement.  In the three years since the settlement many computers still did not contain the display option between different browsers.  Microsoft claimed a technical error was responsible for the failure; this excuse is an almost acceptable response due to Window’s history of poor performance.

On October 21, 2012 The EU filed a formal complaint against Microsoft for its failure to abide by the settlement.  Microsoft has given a public apology upholding its position that this failure was the result of a technical malfunction and that it will do everything in its power to abide by the settlement.  Unfortunately for Microsoft this is insufficient to the requirements of the settlement.  Microsoft now has four weeks to answer the accusation made by the EU.  If its defense is inadequate, “The company could face a fine of up to 10% of its annual revenue if found in breach of antitrust law.”

The European Union and the European Commission have shown that they are serious when dealing with antitrust laws.  A compromise was created in an effort to show leniency and fairness to Microsoft.  The elements of the settlement were almost insultingly not complied with, and now Microsoft is facing the sterner side of justice.